Useful checklist when buying a horse
1. There’s safety in numbers - always take at least one other person with you to act as a witness and record what’s said and promised.
2. Get the horse vetted by your own or an independent specialist horse vet. Ensure that, in advance, your chosen specialist (vet) is fully aware of the intended use of the horse including a list of activities and potential riders.
3. Try the horse out and, if possible, observe it being ridden by its current rider (this may highlight compensatory traits that would cover up, for example, an injury). Take care to watch how he responds when being tacked up and in the stable.
4. Put the horse through its paces: Ride him out alone, in traffic and in amongst others. If he’s being bought for jumping, for example, then try him out over some jumps.
5. Get a written statement from the seller that confirms the horse is what they say he is. If you have been told that he is a gelding and is 7 years old then this needs to be in writing and signed by the vendor.
6. A quality horse dealer will agree in writing to take a horse back (if you act promptly) if it is found to have a physical or behavioural problem – make sure this is confirmed in writing.
7. A good idea is always to ask to have the horse for at least a week's trial period or ‘on loan’ to see how he reacts in new surroundings and to give you time to make up your mind.
8. If there is a problem then take action immediately. The longer you leave it, the more you risk losing your right to a full refund or compensation.
9. Always review any written description with the advertisement.
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